The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe – A

christ-the-king-icon-914.jpg‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’


Prayer for Resignation to God

Lord, if what I seek be according to our will, then let it come to pass and let success attend the outcome. But if not, my God, let it not come to pass. Do not leave me to my own devices, for you know how unwise I can be. Keep me safe under your protection Lord my God, and in your own gentle way guide me and rule me as you know best.


Almighty ever-living God,

whose will is to restore all things

in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,

grant, we pray,

that the whole creation, set free from slavery,

may render your majesty service

and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.


good-shepherd-icon-570.jpgEz 34:11-12, 15-17

Thus says the Lord GOD:
I myself will look after and tend my sheep.
As a shepherd tends his flock
when he finds himself among his scattered sheep,
so will I tend my sheep.
I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered
when it was cloudy and dark.
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy,
shepherding them rightly. 

As for you, my sheep, says the Lord GOD,                                                                    I will judge between one sheep and another,                                                    between rams and goats.


CCC 754 “The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep.”1

1 LG 6; cf. Jn 10:1-10; Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:11-31; Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4; Jn 10:11-16.


In his infinite love and kindness God consoled and encouraged the Jewish exiles in Babylonia through the prophet Ezekiel. He told them that they would return to their own country where they would once more be a Chosen People directly under his divine care. The earthly rulers he had placed over them had failed in their duty. Now he himself would be their ruler and he would rule mercifully, kindly and justly.

He described the relationship between his people and himself under the image of a flock of sheep and its shepherd. It’s an image often found in the Old Testament. That God was referring to the future messianic kingdom, to the new Chosen People, is evident from the fact that our divine Lord, the Messiah, applied this passage of Ezekiel to himself in John 10: 1-18. Speaking to the Pharisees whose pride and prejudice had blinded them so that they could not see him as the promised Messiah, Jesus told them that he was the true “shepherd” who would lay down his life for his sheep. He had come, he said, so that his sheep might have life and have it to the full (eternal life). There were other sheep who up to then did not belong to God’s fold (referring to the Gentiles) but those too he would lead to life, they would eventually be one flock and one shepherd. This prophecy given by God over 500 years before Christ came on earth was fulfilled to the letter in Christ, as Christ himself declared and as history has proved. The Son of God came on earth as man to give all men eternal life. He founded the new sheepfold, the new Chosen People, the kingdom of God on earth, to prepare for entry into heaven all who will enter its gates. We are fortunate to belong to that kingdom. We have a king who has proved his love by dying for us in order to give us life. By his sufferings our wounds were healed; by his death on the cross he has conquered death; by his resurrection he has made our physical death the doorway that leads to everlasting life.


Ps 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.



1 Cor 15:20-26, 28

Brothers and sisters:
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since death came through man,
the resurrection of the dead came also through man.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,
but each one in proper order:
Christ the first-fruits;
then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;
then comes the end,
when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father,
when he has destroyed every sovereignty
and every authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
When everything is subjected to him,
then the Son himself will also be subjected
to the one who subjected everything to him,
so that God may be all in all.


CCC 130 Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the fulfillment of the divine plan when “God [will] be everything to everyone.”1 Nor do the calling of the patriarchs and the exodus from Egypt, for example, lose their own value in God’s plan, from the mere fact that they were intermediate stages.

CCC 294 The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace”,2 for “the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man’s life is the vision of God: if God’s revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word’s manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God.”3 The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become ”all in all“, thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.”4

CCC 411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the “New Adam” who, because he “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”, makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.5 Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium as Mary, the mother of Christ, the “new Eve”. Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ’s victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.6

CCC 655 Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. .. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”7 The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment. In Christ, Christians “have tasted. .. the powers of the age to come”8 and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”9

CCC 668 “Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”10 Christ’s Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God’s power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”, for the Father “has put all things under his feet.”11 Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are “set forth” and transcendently fulfilled.12

CCC 671 Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth.13 This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover.14 Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.”15 That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him:16 Marana tha! “Our Lord, come!”17

CCC 674 The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus.18 St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.”19 St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”20 The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles”,21 will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all”.22

CCC 954 The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”’:23

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.24

CCC 1008 Death is a consequence of sin. The Church’s Magisterium, as authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death entered the world on account of man’s sin.25 Even though man’s nature is mortal God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin.26 “Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” is thus “the last enemy” of man left to be conquered.27

CCC 1130 The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord “until he comes,” when God will be “everything to everyone.”28 Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit’s groaning in the Church: Marana tha!29 The liturgy thus shares in Jesus’ desire: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you. .. until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”30 In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus.”31 The “Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come. .. Come, Lord Jesus!”’32

St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: “Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it- Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ’s Passion – grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us – future glory.”33

CCC 1326 Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.34

CCC 2550 On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears them35 to perfect communion with God:

There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue’s reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist. .. “I shall be their God and they will be my people. .. ” This is also the meaning of the Apostle’s words: “So that God may be all in all.” God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all.36

CCC 2804 The first series of petitions carries us toward him, for his own sake: thy name, thy kingdom, thy will! It is characteristic of love to think first of the one whom we love. In none of the three petitions do we mention ourselves; the burning desire, even anguish, of the beloved Son for his Father’s glory seizes us:37 “hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done. .. ” These three supplications were already answered in the saving sacrifice of Christ, but they are henceforth directed in hope toward their final fulfillment, for God is not yet all in all.38

CCC 2855 The final doxology, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever,” takes up again, by inclusion, the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven.39 The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory.40 Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all.41

1 1 Cor 15:28.

2 Eph 1:5-6.

3 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4,20,7: PG 7/1,1037.

4 AG 2; cf. 1 Cor 15:28.

5 Cf. 1 Cor 15:21-22,45; Phil 2:8; Rom 5:19-20.

6 Cf. Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573.

7 I Cor 15:20-22.

8 Heb 6:5.

9 2 Cor 5:15; cf. Col 3:1-3.

10 Rom 14:9.

11 Eph 1:20-22.

12 Eph 1:10; cf. 4:10; 1 Cor 15:24, 27-28.

13 Lk 21:27; cf. Mt 25:31.

14 Cf. 2 Th 2:7.

15 LG 48 # 3; cf. 2 Pt 3:13; Rom 8:19-22; I Cor 15:28.

16 Cf. I Cor 11:26; 2 Pt 3:11-12.

17 1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:17,20.

18 Rom I 1:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39.

19 Acts 3:19-21.

20 Rom 11:15.

21 Rom 11:12, 25; cf. Lk 21:24.

22 Eph 4:13; I Cor 15:28.

23 LG 49; cf. Mt 25:31; 1 Cor 15:26-27; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1305.

24 LG 49; cf. Eph 4:16.

25 Cf. Gen 2:17; 3:3; 3:19; Wis 1:13; Rom 5:12; 6:23; DS 1511.

26 Cf. Wis 2:23-24.

27 GS 18 § 2; cf. 1 Cor 15:26.

28 1 Cor 11:26; 15:28.

29 1 Cor 16:22.

30 Lk 22:15.

31 Titus 2:13.

32 Rev 22:17, 20.

33 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 60, 3.

34 Cf. 1 Cor 15:28.

35 Cf. Rev 22:17.

36 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22, 30: PL 41, 801-802; cf. Lev 26:12; cf. 1 Cor 15:28.

37 Cf. Lk 22:14; 12:50.

38 Cf. 1 Cor 15:28.

39 Cf. Rev 1:6; 4:11; 5:13.

40 Cf. Lk 4:5-6.

41 1 Cor 15:24-28.


It is very fitting that the Church should dedicate the last Sunday of the liturgical year to honoring Christ, her founder and Savior, as King of the universe. Through the divine intervention, in the Incarnation of the Son of God in human history, mankind has been raised to the sonship with God which was planned before creation began. The sins of the world have been atoned for, and men are made citizens of God’s kingdom on earth with the promise of citizenship in the eternal kingdom if they do the little that is expected of them while they are on earth.

All this we owe to Christ the Son of God “who emptied himself” of his divine glory and deigned to become man so that we mortals could become sons of God. We close our liturgical year, therefore, with a feastday which honors Christ as man and we give him the highest title a man can have as we proclaim him our King. Although this title was introduced only in recent times by Pius XI, its meaning and understanding go back to the very beginning of Christianity. St. Paul tells us in today’s reading that Christ began his triumphant reign at the moment of his resurrection and that it will continue on earth until his last opponent is overcome. That will be on the day of the final judgment. Christ’s kingdom on earth will then pass into the Father’s eternal kingdom of heaven, where Christ as God will reign in majesty together with the Father and Holy Spirit.

We have every reason, therefore, to rejoice in Christ today and to render him all the gratitude and glory of which our human nature is capable. We have the great blessing of being members of his kingdom after death. Christ lived and died for us. He lived to teach us the truth and show us the way to heaven. He died to conquer our death and earn for us eternal life. He rose from the dead to prove he had overcome sin and death and to open the gates of heaven for us. Christ is “the way, the truth and the life.” If we follow him we are following the king who can lead us to victory.

Let us thank our Savior for all he has done for us. Our, thanks will be sincere only if we renew our pledge of loyal service to him. Earthly kings regulate the temporal lives of their subjects, Christ is preparing for us an unending life. Earthly kings sometimes reward their outstanding subjects; Christ has promised an everlasting reward to all who serve him–the lowly of the world as well as the highest in the land. Only those who refuse to have him to reign over them–those who have no king but Caesar–will fail to receive his reward.

Christ is our king in this world. Let us make sure that he will be our king for all eternity by doing our best to be his loyal subjects here on earth.



Mt 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’
Then they will answer and say,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.’
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life.”


CCC 331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. .. ”1 They belong to him because they were created through and for him: “for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.”2 They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?”3

CCC 544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”;4 he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”5 To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned.6 Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation.7 Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom.8

CCC 598 In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.”9 Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself,10 the Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone:

We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins. Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt. And it can be seen that our crime in this case is greater in us than in the Jews. As for them, according to the witness of the Apostle, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” We, however, profess to know him. And when we deny him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on him.11

Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.12

CCC 671 Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth.13 This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover.14 Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.”15 That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him:16 Marana tha! “Our Lord, come!”17

CCC 678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgment of the Last Day in his preaching.18 Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light.19 Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God’s grace as nothing be condemned.20 Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.21 On the Last Day Jesus will say: “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”22

CCC 679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He “acquired” this right by his cross. The Father has given “all judgment to the Son”.23 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.24 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.25

CCC 954 The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”’:26

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.27

CCC 1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: “He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”28 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.29 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self- exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

CCC 1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.30 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather. .. all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,”31 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”32

CCC 1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”33

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.”34

CCC 1038 The resurrection of all the dead, “of both the just and the unjust,”35 will precede the Last Judgment. This will be “the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man’s] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”36 Then Christ will come “in his glory, and all the angels with him. .. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. .. And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”37

CCC 1373 “Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church:38 in his word, in his Church’s prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,”39 in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned,40 in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “he is present. .. most especially in the Eucharistic species.”41

CCC 1397 The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren:

You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother,… You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal. .. God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful.42

CCC 1503 Christ’s compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people”43 and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins;44 he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of.45 His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.”46 His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

CCC 1825 Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies.”47 The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself.48

The Apostle Paul has given an incomparable depiction of charity: “charity is patient and kind, charity is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Charity does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Charity bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”49

CCC 1932 The duty of making oneself a neighbor to others and actively serving them becomes even more urgent when it involves the disadvantaged, in whatever area this may be. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”50

CCC 2443 God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; “you received without pay, give without pay.”51 It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones.52 When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s presence.53

CCC 2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.54 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.55 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:56

He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise.57 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.58 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?59

CCC 2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.’”60 Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”61 In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals. ..,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren:62

When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, St. Rose of Lima said to her: “When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.”63

CCC 2831 But the presence of those who hunger because they lack bread opens up another profound meaning of this petition. The drama of hunger in the world calls Christians who pray sincerely to exercise responsibility toward their brethren, both in their personal behavior and in their solidarity with the human family. This petition of the Lord’s Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment.64

1 Mt 25:31.

2 Col 1:16.

3 Heb 1:14.

4 Lk 4:18; cf. 7:22.

5 Mt 5:3.

6 Cf. Mt 11:25.

7 Cf. Mt 21:18; Mk 2:23-26; Jn 4:6 1; 19:28; Lk 9:58.

8 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.

9 Roman Catechism I, 5, 11; cf. Heb 12:3.

10 Cf. Mt 25:45; Acts 9:4-5.

11 Roman Catechism I, 5, 11; cf. Heb 6:6; 1 Cor 2:8.

12 St. Francis of Assisi, Admonitio 5, 3.

13 Lk 21:27; cf. Mt 25:31.

14 Cf. 2 Th 2:7.

15 LG 48 # 3; cf. 2 Pt 3:13; Rom 8:19-22; I Cor 15:28.

16 Cf. I Cor 11:26; 2 Pt 3:11-12.

17 1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:17,20.

18 Cf. Dan 7:10; Joel 3-4; Mal 3: 19; Mt 3:7-12.

19 Cf Mk 12:38-40; Lk 12:1-3; Jn 3:20-21; Rom 2:16; I Cor 4:5.

20 Cf. Mt 11:20-24; 12:41-42.

21 Cf. Mt 5:22; 7:1-5.

22 Mt 25:40.

23 Jn 5:22; cf. 5:27; Mt 25:31; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1.

24 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.

25 Cf. Jn 3:17; 5:26. 588 Cf. Jn 3:18; 12:48; Mt 12:32; I Cor 3:12-15; Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31.

26 LG 49; cf. Mt 25:31; 1 Cor 15:26-27; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1305.

27 LG 49; cf. Eph 4:16.

28 1 Jn 3:14-15.

29 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.

30 Cf. Mt 5:22, 29; 10:28; 13:42, 50; Mk 9:43-48.

31 Mt 13:41-42.

32 Mt 25:41.

33 Mt 7:13-14.

34 LG 48 # 3; Mt 22:13; cf. Heb 9:27; Mt 25:13, 26, 30, 31 46.

35 Acts 24:15.

36 Jn 5:28-29.

37 Mt 25:31, 32, 46.

38 Rom 8:34; cf. LG 48.

39 Mt 18:20.

40 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.

41 SC 7.

42 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 27, 4: PG 61, 229-230; cf. Mt 25:40.

43 Lk 7:16; cf. Mt 4:24.

44 Cf. Mk 2:5-12.

45 Cf. Mk 2:17.

46 Mt 25:36.

47 Rom 5:10.

48 Cf. Mt 5:44; Lk 10:27-37; Mk 9:37; Mt 25:40, 45.

49 1 Cor 13:4-7.

50 Mt 25:40.

51 Mt 5:42; 10:8.

52 Cf. Mt 25:31-36.

53 Mt 11:5; cf. Lk 4:18.

54 Cf. Isa 58:6-7; Heb 13:3.

55 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.

56 Cf. Tob 4:5-11; Sir 17:22; Mt 6:2-4.

57 Lk 3:11.

58 Lk 11:41.

59 Jas 2:15-16; cf. 1 Jn 3:17.

60 Deut 15:11.

61 Jn 12:8.

62 Am 8:6; cf. Mt 25:40.

63 P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).

64 Cf. Lk 16:19-31; Mt 25:31-46.


Christ himself in this description of the last judgment, describes his role as that of a king. He will “sit on a glorious throne.” As a “king” he will pronounce judgment on all mankind; he will separate the good from the bad. His decision will be final and forever. This gospel reading, therefore, reminds us of the Kingship of Christ who “humiliated himself” in the Incarnation for our sakes, but was raised again to glory by the Father and so gave all men the possibility and means to raise themselves to eternal glory.

This gospel reading brings out also the very necessary lesson which we must learn if we are to serve Christ as faithful subjects while on earth and so come into our eternal kingdom when we die. We serve him, he tells us himself today, by serving his needy members. These we will always have with us, so that we shall never be short of the opportunity to show our love and gratitude to Christ.

The hungry, sick, naked, imprisoned provide us with opportunities for serving Christ. If there are none of these in our immediate neighborhood, there are millions in other parts of our world today and we need not search far for means of helping them. There are hundreds of associations dedicated to serving those in need of the corporal works of mercy. Let us be as generous as our means will allow in our donations to one or other of these associations.

Let us not forget either, that our Lord’s reference to his needy members was not restricted to those in bodily need only. There are many of our fellowmen, Christians and non-Christians, who are hungry and thirsty for spiritual things; others are spiritually sick through worldliness and sin; many others who are so imprisoned in their own earthly ambitions that they have no time to think of their future life. To help such neighbors out of their difficulties, self-inflicted or not, is to serve Christ. He wants all men for heaven. He came on earth for that purpose. He expects us to cooperate with him in bringing them there, and he gives us these opportunities so that we can prove our love for him now on earth and later for all eternity, rejoice with those we helped.

On this feast of Christ our King, let us renew our pledge of loyalty to him, and so that this pledge will not be an empty formula, let each one of us resolve to study once more the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and see how well we put them into practice. If we have failed in the past, let us resolve to begin again today. Many of us may feel that we ourselves need all we can get for our bodily needs, and those of our families. If that is really so, Christ will understand it, but this will not excuse us from carrying out the spiritual works of mercy. The fervent prayer; the sincere Christian advice for an erring neighbor; the prudent counsel to parents in disagreement or to parents neglecting their children’s Christian upbringing; these works of charity, aided by God’s grace, can work miracles. They have done so time and time again in the past; they will do so again in the future.

Let us help one another by bearing one another’s burdens. This is what Christ asks of us. This is how we can prove ourselves loyal and grateful subjects. This is what we will be judged on when we meet him on our last day. If we love our neighbor with an active and practical love for Christ’s sake, we are thereby loving God, and are keeping “the two greatest commandments on which the whole law and the prophets depend.

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission from Franciscan Press.


How Love is Possible

Love of neighbor is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that , in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend. Going beyond exterior appearance, I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern. This I can offer them not only through the organizations intended for such purposes, accepting it perhaps as a political necessity. Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave… If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be “devout” and to perform my “religious duties,” then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely “proper,” but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbor and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbor can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


O Jesus Christ,

I acknowledge you as universal King. All that has been made has been created for You. Exercise all Your rights over me. I renew my Baptismal Vows. I renounce Satan, his pomps and his works; I promise to live as a good Christian. And, in particular do I pledge myself to labor, to the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of God and of Your Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, to You do I offer my poor services, laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Your sacred kingship, and that thus the reign of Your peace be established throughout the whole universe.   We ask this and all things through Christ our Lord, Amen.





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